Fingering nervously the sentient buttons of his redingote the aristocrat of Beldam engages in banal conversation with Pomerannean princesses sprinkling the air with false, girlish laughter. Kreshniks and sultans and dukes and lords and tyrants and barmy barons and sons of black queens and the daughters of devil despots and kuningas and viscounts and chevaliers and epicanthal shishaku and czars and their royal concubines, gleefully abandoned by the transport chopper, mill about in the wide open plain. A bastard baron plucks a black tune on his bassinet.
A wall of wind it comes. A single breath of confused silicia and mica dust, the several kilometre wide force of nature, oblivious to the sudden panic of the shallow royalty, roars on to uproot trees, flatten hills, overturn lakes. “Derecho,” an awed lip flutters at its approach. A sheer cliff face of condensation crackling with electricity, it engulfs the party and throws about bodies against each other like so many macabre rag dolls. In the deepening sky, a satellite twinkles.
Flesh vats hum as the doll flesh of clones stir in turgid viscosity. Eyelids flutter open and the flesh vats are drained and opened. Dripping with amniotic fluid, the decadent emerge naked from stainless steel and plexiglass wombs. Against a vast window to the stars, the jewelled planet of Gale sinking slowly from view, a horde of servants scramble to clothe their masters in fineries. The rich laugh amongst themselves.
“Oh, that was wonderful!”
“We must do it again!”
“Let’s! It was just as good as drowning in chocolate.”